A few words about the Songs of Ranjan Prasad
– the creator with a difference

Way back in the mid sixties, a faint and distant off beat note was heard in the then Bengali music scenario which for sure was unacquainted to listeners. Gradually the note reached up to a crescendo and the entire youth in the urban neighbourhoods and university campuses were taken away by that enthralling music. That was the beginning of a new chapter – music of the new generation. The trendsetter was a fresh and budding architect by profession and a poet, composer and folk singer by passion – Ranjan Prasad.

As with every pioneering ventures throughout ages in the history, the common crowd was certainly not prepared to cope with the cult that was at least twenty years ahead of time. Neither the artiste had any compulsion to abide by the market rulings for a musical livelihood with a creative urge that obviously made him class apart. At this juncture he came across a band of co-thinking youngsters who were later famed as Mohiner Ghoraguli and together appeared in concerts which proved their striking differences, before the appalled audience.

Gradually, while his cult started getting recognition from the All India Radio, Television and the press, and the gramophone company of India (HMV, then EMI) released an album of his compositions in his own voice, he signed off from the scene for his another creative world of Architecture. But the number in that Album (Pathe-prantare/ 7EPE 3247) where the lyric, the music (including the arrangements) the voice, and even the jacket layout design were all done by the artiste himself, was the first ever example of a total art by a single artiste released by any recording company. The number included his transcreation from the Calypso-Jamaica Farewell that became a legend with time.

Though he opted to leave the stage, nevertheless the spark in him kept burning. In spite of his busy professional schedule, he went on composing songs for the new generation and by and by his songs were being sung by young and promising artistes as the audience, now more acquainted with his music, fondly remembered the pioneer and his absence was being felt.

Architect on song: If you have heard country singer Ranjan Prasad croon and wondered how this gentleman maneuvers the compass and set square with the same finesse as his guitar, let us reveal yet another facet of this architect-singer. Prasad, a chief engineer with the state government’s public works department, has just released a collection of short stories for teenagers. Dakbanglor Choukidar, published by Punascha, is a delightful collection of tales – inspiring, poignant, bitter-sweet. Music, for the obvious reasons, is a significant component of some the stories.
-(The Statesman, Kolkata, 24 March 2003)